Colin Turkington dominates qualifying at Brands Hatch
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington crushed his title rivals during qualifying at Brands Hatch for Round 28 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, as the standings leader secured a commanding third pole position of the season and the 20th of his illustrious career.
The wet conditions, which intensified throughout the 30 minutes of running, provided high-class entertainment for the fans but the ultimate challenge for the drivers around the legendary Grand Prix circuit.
Four of the five championship contenders endured off-track moments during the session as the likes of Josh Cook, Tom Ingram and Dan Cammish took to the grass on flying laps, whilst Andrew Jordan’s session ended in the gravel after he out-braked himself at the ultra-fast Hawthorn Bend.
Keeping his head as those around him were losing theirs, reigning champ Turkington produced a number of timed laps that eclipsed the rest of the field.
The #1 BMW circled the 2.43-mile track faster and faster during the best of the conditions and Turkington’s 1:40.752s lap time would prove to be the untouchable benchmark at the finish.
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Ash Sutton fell short by 0.316s – a significant margin in the BTCC – whilst BMW Pirtek Racing’s Jordan will be relieved to have secured third despite his off.
Jordan’s moment came with just over five minutes remaining as he tried to challenge Turkington’s provisional pole lap, but he would eventually cause the second red flag stoppage of the session, losing his fastest lap time as per the rules. The other halt in proceedings happened early on when Matt Simpson’s Honda slid off on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend.
Jack Sears Trophy rivals Tom Oliphant (Team BMW) and Rory Butcher (Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance) will line-up together on the grid in fourth and fifth respectively, whilst local man Jake Hill (TradePriceCars.com) and Chris Smiley (BTC Racing) were next in the order.
It will be an all BTC Racing fourth row with Cook lining up alongside his team-mate, as the Bath racer kept his faint championship hopes alive with eighth.
Mike Bushell (Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance) and Aiden Moffat (Laser Tools Racing) completed the top ten positions.
Cammish’s title aspirations were dealt a blow as the Halfords Yuasa Racing man could only manage 12th. The Honda star, who has impressively fired himself into contention during recent race weekends, was already languishing outside of the top ten as he set off on his final run. Having made set-up changes to his Honda Civic Type R (FK8) the Yorkshireman pushed too hard through Hawthorn and had to recover from a minor excursion.
Team Toyota GB with Ginsters’ Tom Ingram – the fifth and final driver in mathematical contention to win the most coveted prize in British motorsport – will have it all to do from 17th on the grid tomorrow. The multiple race winner is now 62 points off the championship summit with 66 left to play for during tomorrow’s season finale triple header.
It is Turkington holding the cards as the pole-sitter extended his points advantage with the final pole position of the season. Cammish now sits 17 points behind the standings leader, with Jordan a further point in arrears. Cook will need to overturn a 37-point deficit if he is to win a maiden BTCC title.
Rounds 28, 29 and 30 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at Brands Hatch tomorrow with a large crowd expected in Kent, whilst many many more will watch the action live and exclusively on ITV4 from 10:30-18:30.